Tag Archives: Mitch McConnell

Ex-WH ethics guru calls McConnell a ‘perjurer’

Well now, that didn’t take long.

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts told all 100 U.S. senators Thursday to raise their right hands and swear under oath to conduct “impartial justice” in the trial of Donald John Trump, president of the United States.

One of senators to swear to follow that oath is Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Except, wait! He’s said many times already that he has no intention of being impartial. McConnell said he will take his cue from Trump’s legal team.

Just hours after taking the oath, former White House ethics lawyer, Richard Painter, who served President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, accused McConnell of committing an act of perjury.

Painter went on Twitter to say McConnell has contradicted himself. “This man just swore an oath saying the exact opposite,” Painter said in a tweet. “This man is a perjurer.”

Well now. Isn’t that a crime punishable with a jail sentence?

To be fair, there are a number of senators on both sides of the aisle whose statements need careful examination. However, I believe I have seen statements only by two prominent Republicans — McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham — that have declared that the senators have made up their minds. Other senators are trying to cover their rear ends by saying they intend to listen to all arguments before making up their minds.

McConnell needs to recuse himself from this proceeding. If he cannot abide by the oath he just took, then he has no business presiding over a Senate that is going to put the president of the United States on trial.

McConnell exhibits stunning lack of self-awareness

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Of all the statements, assertions, pronouncements and declarations I keep hearing while we watch this impeachment drama unfold, I keep circling back to what keeps coming out of the mouth of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Kentucky Republican keeps hurling “partisan political” accusations at his Democratic colleagues in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. When I hear him accuse House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of acting as a purely partisan politician, I find myself thinking: Dude, do you not remember your own political history? 

Of course he does!

I harken back to the Mother of All Partisan Acts when in early 2016 he declared that President Obama would not be able to select someone to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly that year; Obama sought to nominate Merrick Garland to succeed him; McConnell put the brakes on it, declaring that the president’s nominee would not get a Senate hearing in an election year.

Democrats were rightfully outraged. It was an act of supreme partisanship, just as he has continued to exhibit his partisan bona fides during the run-up to the Senate impeachment trial that has commenced.

Speaking of that … for the Senate majority leader to accuse anyone else of partisan game-playing is akin to getting a lecture on marital fidelity from, oh, you know who.

Why not witnesses now, Mr. Leader?

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Mitch McConnell’s duplicity, double-dealing, hypocrisy make me want to pull my out by its roots.

The Senate majority leader says the Senate that will put Donald Trump on trial for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power doesn’t need to hear witnesses. Democrats don’t need to call witnesses to testify before the body of 100 senators.

He wants the trial to come to a quick and predictable end. He wants the president to be acquitted of impeachment charges filed by the House of Representatives. No need to hear any more evidence, or hear from those who might have something new to add.

The double speak, duplicity and hypocrisy? In 1999, when the Senate put President Clinton on trial for obstruction of justice McConnell insisted on hearing from witnesses. Why, he was all over that one! The Senate needs to hear more evidence, said McConnell.

Hey, I don’t want a lengthy trial, either. However, the trial need not drag on too long if we can hear from a half-dozen or so key witnesses who have first-hand knowledge of Donald Trump asking Ukrainians for political help in exchange for military hardware.

It might not happen, if the majority leader has his newfound way.

Such hypocrisy.

Hearing it often doesn’t make it any easier to swallow

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

I keep hearing U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say up front, out loud and for the record that he intends to conduct a Senate trial of Donald Trump in “coordination” with the White House.

I hear it. I believe it even less than the previous time I hear it. I keep shaking my head at the abject brazenness of what McConnell is saying.

McConnell is seeking to grease the presidential trial in Trump’s favor. He’s already got enough Republican senators in his pocket who will acquit the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. They likely will hold together when the time arrives for a vote: up or down on Donald Trump.

What continues to astound me is that McConnell is now resisting the notion of calling witnesses to testify before the Senate. He said precisely the opposite thing 20 years ago when a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, was impeached for obstruction of justice and lying to a grand jury about his affair with a White House intern.

What’s more, trials cannot be considered valid, fair and impartial when the de facto “foreman” of the jury — in this case, McConnell — is working hand in glove with defendant’s legal team.

In the name of fair trial, what am I missing here? I do not get any of this. None of it makes sense. It is scrambling the eggs in my noggin.

Where is the ‘impartiality’?

Oh, how I hate playing the “both sides are wrong” card. I feel I must do so in this instance.

Republican Mitch McConnell, the U.S. Senate’s majority leader, says he is not going to be an “impartial juror” when the Senate commences its trial over the articles impeachment filed against Donald J. Trump.

McConnell’s comments have drawn a rebuke from fellow Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who said she is “disturbed” by his approach to putting the president on trial.

Now comes the view of a senior Democratic senator, Dick Durbin, who criticizes his fellow Democrats for refusing to maintain their own impartiality.

Both sides are guilty? I suppose so.

All 100 senators are going to raise their right hands and take an oath to be impartial jurors when Chief Justice John Roberts administers the pledge. They will say “so help me, God” at the end of the oath, which gives the pledge an air of sanctimony.

Will they be loyal to that sacred oath? Have they made up their minds to convict or acquit Trump? Is there a truly impartial mind among the 100 senators who will sit in judgment of Donald Trump? Or have every one of them pre-determined the president’s guilt or innocence, determining whether he has committed impeachable offenses?

Those of us on the outside have the liberty to make these determinations prior to hearing evidence. We’re not elected public officials. Those folks have the power to remove the president, or to keep him in office. They must maintain their impartiality for as long as they are hearing the case being presented.

I worry now that the trial that’s about to commence — hopefully sooner rather than too much later — will be akin to a sideshow with senators on both sides of the great divide guilty of the same sin.

McConnell seeks to become ‘most hated Republican’

I saw a quotation attributed to Sen. Mitch  McConnell in which he declares himself the nation’s “second most-hated Republican.” I presume he means Republican politician.

It appears to me that the U.S. Senate majority leader is angling to replace the nation’s most “hated” Republican by refusing to do the right thing when the Senate convenes its trial on that most hated GOP politician, Donald Trump. He might not allow any witnesses to be interrogated or any evidence to be introduced when the impeached president stands trial.

What is so astounding to me is that McConnell is engaging in such bald-faced, overt and obvious duplicity.

Twenty years ago the House impeached President Bill Clinton after Clinton lied to a grand jury about an affair he was having with a young White House intern. McConnell was then just another senator, but he was insisting on witnesses, insisting that the Senate hear evidence. Now it’s different. The president is of the same party as McConnell, so the majority leader wants to slam-bang the trial through without the benefit of hearing what witnesses might have to say.

Why, they might provide actual new information for senators to ponder. They might even testify in Trump’s favor. Or … they might testify against him.

That doesn’t matter to McConnell. He says he won’t be “impartial.” He is going to work to clear Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Indeed, that second charge is so remarkable in that the House has accused the president of usurping Congress’s legislative authority by shielding witnesses from testifying before House committees. You’d think that senators would be angry as the dickens at that notion, except that they aren’t.

Will the Senate majority leader overtake Trump as the nation’s most hated Republican? He might, even though Trump seems to have lapped the field … so far.

Hey, we still have a ways to go before this matter gets decided.

Mr. Majority Leader: Just do your job!

(Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The more I think about it, the more persuaded I become that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is incapable of doing the job he took an oath to do.

He swore to be faithful to the U.S. Constitution. The nation’s governing document empowers the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court to preside over a trial of the president, and that empowerment allows the chief justice to administer an oath to senators who then vow to administer “impartial” justice in determining a president’s guilt or innocence.

Why, then, does Mitch McConnell declare his intention to violate that oath by saying he has no intention of being an “impartial juror” in the upcoming trial of Donald Trump, who’s been impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

If McConnell will not adhere to the constitutional provisions set forth in the trial, then he needs to recuse himself from the trial itself. He isn’t the only senator who’s vowing to less than impartial. Fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has declared that he doesn’t need to hear any evidence, that he’s made up his mind that Trump did nothing wrong. Yep, it’s a done deal, says Graham.

To be fair, there likely are some Senate Democrats who also have made up their minds. I do not recall hearing them declare it publicly and brazenly as McConnell and Graham have done. These men’s bias is stated and well-known.

It is amazing in the extreme to hear the Senate majority leader say without hesitation or reservation that he won’t be faithful to the oath that Chief Justice John Roberts will administer to the 100 senators who will act as jurors in the latest trial of the century.

It makes me wonder if the chief justice has any authority to determine whether senators are in contempt of the Constitution.

One can hope …

What is there to hide if the phone call was ‘perfect’?

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

There is so much about Donald Trump defense strategy and the approach taken by his Republican allies in Congress that I do not understand.

The House of Representatives has impeached the current president on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate is supposed to put Trump on trial. Democrats want to call witnesses. Republicans are fighting that push.

All the while, Trump calls the impeachment a sham, a joke, a hoax, that there’s nothing to see, that the operative phone call with Ukraine’s president was “perfect.”

If Trump and Ukrainian President Vlodyrmyr Zelenskiy engaged in that perfect conversation, then why in the world are POTUS and his GOP allies resisting the demands to hear from witnesses in the Senate trial?

If they clear the president of wrongdoing, wouldn’t it make sense to hear them do so? If there is nothing to hide, then why does Donald Trump act and sound like he’s, um, hiding something from public view?

The appearance of a handful of key witnesses, critical White House aides, wouldn’t necessarily drag the trial into the far distant future. They might work in Trump’s favor; or, they might have precisely the opposite effect.

What’s more, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who today is resisting any witnesses in the Trump trial, was all in for witnesses when President Clinton went on trial in 1999 after the House impeached him. Is he driven solely by partisan concerns?

Why, that just can’t be, given McConnell’s criticism of the House impeachment, which he said was fueled by partisan hatred of Donald Trump. Isn’t that what he said?

If the Senate is going to put the current president on trial, then let’s have witnesses. Let’s see the evidence. Let’s then ask senators/jurors to deliberate over what they see and hear and then let’s demand they make their decision based on what has been presented.

With no witnesses or evidence presented at trial, then there’s nothing to consider.

Where I come from, that sounds like a sham.

McConnell sets no bipartisan example

Yeah, this Twitter message from a former U.S. senator — who once wrote jokes for a living — sums it up for me.

The Senate majority leader is lamenting the absence of a quality about which he seems to know next to nothing. Mitch McConnell is angry about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. He says House Democrats rushed to judgment against the president while impeaching him; then he says he won’t allow any witnesses to testify in the upcoming Senate trial that will determine whether Trump stays in office.

I don’t know whether to laugh or … laugh even more loudly.

McConnell is infamous for the partisan hit job he performed on President Barack Obama after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly in February 2016. Obama wanted to nominate someone to the SCOTUS to succeed Scalia. McConnell slammed the door shut, saying that the president shouldn’t appoint a justice in an election year that would determine who the next president would be.

Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the SCOTUS. McConnell denied Garland a hearing. It was a major-league partisan power play. It worked for McConnell, given that Donald Trump won the 2016 election.

Of course, McConnell has kept up his partisan wrangling during the impeachment saga, declaring that he intends to take his cue from Trump’s legal team and that he is “not an impartial juror.”

So, for the majority leader to gripe about Democrats’ alleged partisanship now is as Al Franken has described it.

Pathetic.

Bring on the witnesses, and then have that trial in the Senate

(Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not making an unreasonable demand on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The House has impeached the current president of the United States, Donald Trump. The Senate is now slated eventually to hold a trial to determine whether he should be convicted of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Pelosi wants witnesses called and documentation offered. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer agrees with the speaker. He wants a trial with witnesses, just as what occurred during the Senate trials of Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

Without them, the nation will get a show trial.

Let’s understand, too, that Democrats want to hear from former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, former White House counsel Don McGahn. What do they have in common? They’re all Trump allies.

Might they provide testimony that works in Trump’s favor? Sure. Might they have something damaging to offer? You bet. Trials need to include witnesses and documentary evidence.

McConnell mustn’t be allowed to stonewall this process the way Trump has done throughout the House impeachment inquiry.

Senators are going home for Christmas. They well might hear from their constituents who could demand they adhere to demands to call witnesses. If they listen to and heed those demands, then we might actually get a serious trial conducted under the rules of evidence.

If McConnell wants to shield these witnesses from public scrutiny, then I believe we’re entitled to presume that he has something to hide from the country.